Chicago Cubs: Maddon shifts rotation, Montgomery back in

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

After trying rookie Jen-Ho Tseng in the rotation, the Chicago Cubs will go back to Mike Montgomery to open the Tampa Bay series. Jon Lester was pushed back an extra day.

Whatever you choose to call it, the Jen-Ho Tseng start didn’t go as well as Chicago Cubs‘ skipper Joe Maddon hoped for. I think it was more of an opportunity to get an MLB start, while also coming to Chicago to receive his Cubs’ MiLB Pitcher of the Year award. Whichever the case, the Cubs survived that outing and Tseng got a chance to see what it’s like to pitch in the middle of a pennant race.

But Maddon has chosen to pull Mike Montgomery back into the rotation. He’ll start Tuesday as the Cubs open up against the Tamp Bay Rays. Jon Lester will slide back until Wednesday, allowing the Cubs to line up more of their right-handed starters to face the Milwaukee Brewers this coming weekend. The reason for Montgomery’s move to the pen made sense. But Brian Duensing may have helped solve that issue.

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Moving lefties

Monty had moved back to the pen to help give Maddon another lefty. With Justin Wilson struggling (but getting better), having Montgomery in the pen gave him peace of mind. But the success of Duensing out there–including his clutch strikeout against the Cards with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth–he felt confident enough to move Montgomery back.

As a starter, Montgomery hasn’t been near as good as he has out of the pen. He’s posted a 4.62 ERA as a starter, compared to a 2.48 as a reliever. The odd stat? His whip has been identical–1.276. It’s been the home run ball that’s got the best of him. He’s allowed six in 60 1/3 as a starter, three in 58 innings as a reliever.

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Montgomery will face Chris Archer tomorrow, while Lester will take on Blake Snell on Wednesday. For Maddon, he’ll be headed “home” as he makes his first trip back to Tampa Bay. He also makes his offseason home there.